The Pittsburgh Steelers made their first move of the 2018 free agent season, and much to the chagrin of Steelers Nation it saw the Steelers resigning reserve running back Fitzgerald Toussaint to a reported one year deal. Free agency also claimed its first victim in Pittsburgh today as the Steelers lost Chris Hubbard, when Hubbard signed a 5 year contract with the Cleveland Browns for a reported $37.5 million dollars.
- While both moves merit mention, neither exactly qualifies as “news.”
Fitzgerald Toussaint returns a kick against the Bengals in 2016. Photo Credit: Steelers.comThe fact that the Steelers signed Fitzgerald Toussaint is perhaps a bit of a surprise, if only for its timing. Given that the Steelers called Stevan Ridely’s number as the “Next man up” behind Le’Veon Bell after James Conners got hurt against the Ravens, one might thing that resigning Stevan Ridley would be a higher priority.
- And if Twitter reactions are any gauge, there’s not a lot of love in Steelers Nation for a new contract for Fitzgerald Toussaint.
lol,we have become desperate.
— LoveHumanity (@ALANDexter2020) March 15, 2018
Such reactions are understandable, but only to a point.
This site has taken heat for asserting that Fitzgerald Toussaint is a serviceable 3rd running back. But the truth is that the Steelers could do worse than Fitz Toussaint as a number 3 back. They could also do better. Perhaps they still will.
- Since Toussaint was the Steelers first free agency signing, the easy conclusion is that the Steelers regard it as an important one.
But the easy conclusion isn’t necessarily the right one. Last year Greg Warren and David Johnson were among the Steelers first free agent signings, with Warren signing early and David Johnson signing right after the free agency started.
- The Steelers cut Greg Warren after the 2017 NFL Draft and they cut David Johnson shortly after trading for Vance McDonald.
While details of the deal have yet to leak, it is almost a foregone conclusion that the Steelers signed Fitzgerald Toussaint for the veteran minimum, and if that’s the case he’ll certainly have to win a roster spot this summer on the field at St. Vincents and he would be ill-advised even to buy a non-refundable ticket to Latrobe.
Steelers Nation Says “Hail and Farewell” to Chris Hubbard
As our free agent focus profile of Chris Hubbard detailed, the prospect of Chris Hubbard resigning with the Steelers hardly even qualified as a theoretical possibility. Hubbard pulled himself up from an undrafted rookie free agent in 2013 and by 2017 had proven himself as a starter capable offensive tackle who delivered excellent protection to Ben Roethlisberger when called upon.
- With all five of the Steelers offensive lineman playing under their second contracts, there hardly even a theoretical chance of bringing Hubbard back.
That’s unfortunate, because Chris Hubbard is certainly the kind of player you want on your team. Steel Curtain Rising certainly wishes Chis Hubbard the best, hopes he stays injury free and continues to play well… except for when the Browns play the Steelers!